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Rex's Thursday News Conference

Posted Dec 9, 2011

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following Thursday's midday practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

All right, here are the injuries. [Mike] DeVito and Brandon Moore did not practice. Guys that were limited: Marcus Dixon, hip, Joe McKnight, elbow, Eric Smith, knee. And then all the other guys were full today. That includes David Harris and Ellis Lankster. David Harris with an ankle. He was limited, I think, yesterday, now he's full, and Ellis Lankster went from [not participating] to practicing full with a low back. Vlad Ducasse, knee, Shonn Greene, rib, Jeremy Kerley, knee, Nick Mangold, ankle, Calvin Pace, groin. Tanner Purdum, low back, Matt Slauson, knee, LaDainian Tomlinson, knee, and [Muhammad] Wilkerson, shoulder. All right, that's the injuries.

On if he is still confident Brandon Moore will play…

I feel good about Brandon. If there's one guy that doesn't need to go through practice, it is Brandon Moore. I don't know how many starts that is in a row, I'm sure you guys do. It's over a 100 now. I think he's 117. He can probably miss a practice or two.

On who would be Plan B if Moore does not start…

No, he'll go. It's really a plan C as in Caleb Schlauderaff, will be our guy. He's done well. Schlauderaff does a nice job in there.

On the feeling that the team needs to win all their remaining games…

We've been down this road before. I think it's urgency, a sense of urgency without question, but it's just a purpose, a focus and everything else. That's where we're at. We know what's at stake. We have to win this game. All the scenarios in the world, they say well, three out of four, you might get in. There's no scenario of where you can lose an AFC game. We have to win the two remaining AFC games and we'll worry about the other stuff later. We know we have to have this game. So with that understanding, I think that's dialed up the intensity and the focus.

On if the team seems to play better with its back against the wall…

I just think that we have a burning desire to get in the playoffs, I'm sure as do most teams. I can tell you our team wants to get in the playoffs. Not to be one and done, but we think we can do some damage when we get there. So I think that's it. It's right there. You've got to get the eight wins. We have to get to eight wins this week.

Everything we do is built so we're better at the end of the season, from how we train in the weightroom — we're actually making gains in the weightroom, so we're probably a little different than other teams that maybe want to stay the same. We'll actually do correctives where guys are getting better. The way we give guys off during the bye week and all that kind of stuff, it's for this time of year, so you're fresher than your opponent. We feel we are. We like the way we prepare. I think it gives us an advantage late in the year.

On if they are tracking the other teams in the playoff hunt…

No, we just know that we have to take care of our business. If we don't, it's not going to matter.

On defensive philosophy when facing Kansas City given the different quarterbacks they’ve used…

Well, certainly understand Kansas City is one of the better running teams in the league. So that starts as your number one priority. But you have to defend the pass no matter who is back there. Quite honestly, we don't care if Len Dawson's back there, you can have Otis Taylor, Buck Buchanan, everybody else. We know this is the Kansas City Chiefs. We know we have to win. If he's throwing left-handed, right-handed doesn't make a difference to us.

On if having Tom Moore makes them a better team…

I think so. I think Coach Moore, obviously brings a wealth of experience and knowledge. He's got a great way about him. I love being around positive people, and he's one of those guys. How much he’s going to affect the game plan and all that stuff I don't think is the real issue. I feel comfortable that he's here. I like seeing that we've got one of the great coaches of all time with us right now.

On if he can tell if Coach Moore has made an impact on Dustin Keller

I think you have to ask Dustin.

On if there is anything he sees during games or practice that show him Coach Moore’s effect on Keller…

I think like route running specifically. I think we're not giving enough credit to Mike Devlin. I think Devlin's done a great job with Dustin as well. I think even the specifics and routes and things like that, I know Tom's worked with Dustin quite a bit.

On avoiding overconfidence against a Kansas City team struggling to score…

Well, this team just beat the Bears. They held New England down. They held Pittsburgh down. Overconfident? I don't think so. We know how huge this game is. It's an AFC opponent. We have to win the game, period. Confident? Yes, we're absolutely confident. We don't care who we play, we're confident. We also know that we have to have this game.

On Tyler Palko…

I just think he's a left-handed quarterback, so that looks a little different. He's accurate. He's got a 60 percent completion rate. Right now, he throws the back shoulder fade pretty well. They want to get the ball out of his hands. I think he did a good job, never threw any interceptions. This past week they did a good job of protecting the football. I think that's how they're going to play and rely on running the football, controlling the clock, staying ahead of the sticks, and they're playing great on defense. I think that's a formula that's familiar to us. But as far as Palko, I guess the only thing that looks odd is he throws left handed.

On if Garrett McIntyre has been given the starting job at outside linebacker…

Well, no. We like to rotate guys. I can't tell you their personnel grouping what it's going to be and who starts. It may be Aaron Maybin that starts. But I like all three of those guys. When you have Aaron Maybin, he's probably had the best year of all of them, then you have, obviously, Garrett and [Jamaal] Westerman so I think it's a good group.

On preparing to face a quarterback like Palko since he’s left handed…

No, the thing that we're lucky is we have a left-handed quarterback. So [Mark] Brunell is a show team quarterback a lot of times. The spin on the football is a little different, but maybe the blind side is different. Obviously, some of the things you would do might be a little different. But is it really that big of a difference? I don't think so.

On Jim Leonhard’s reliability and missing that down the stretch last season…

No, because he'll read this and we don't want to say anything, and his contract's up [joking]. But no, obviously we missed Jim a great deal. The thing is he still had a presence. Even though he wasn't around, what he means to everybody and how he goes about his business is something. But I'm happy he's healthy right now, no question.

On Mark Sanchez being booed at home…

I think it's only one time he's gotten booed at home. I think we're going to introduce the offense again this week. I'll bet you he doesn't get booed this time. He's had two fourth-quarter wins. So we'll float it out there again. I'm going to call our guys and tell them we're going to introduce our offense, but I bet he doesn't get booed this time.

On the special teams unit committing turnovers in each of the last four games…

I still think we are the best special teams group, but obviously that's the negative. When you look at it, we turn over six returns this year on fumbles. You can't do that. We know that. Normally we get takeaways. We haven't gotten any this year, and yet we've given six. So that is not who we are. Is it a concern? Well, we’re having Jim Leonhard do it.

I told Jimmy coming off the injury, “We probably won't need you” and all that stuff. I think I told his wife that. I promised her [laughter]. I had to go about it and say, "Hey, have your wife call me." [laughter] It's one of those things. The thing about Jimmy is we know how consistent he is. I think Kerley's going to be one of those guys, I really do. But right now with the way the winds are, the weather changes and all that kind of stuff, I just have a lot of faith in Jim Leonhard. I know he can get it done.

On if Antonio Cromartie would return kicks if Joe McKnight can’t play…

It would be Cro.

On if he’s had a season in which he’s had so many different kick and punt returners…

No, I don't think so. This is probably a first. But the good thing is we have a lot of guys that can return that are dangerous when they get the ball in their hands. We've just got to catch them.

On if he worries about using key members of the secondary on special teams…

Sure. You absolutely do. When Brodney [Pool] got hurt, that really extended Eric [Smith]'s role more than we wanted it to. But we've got to find a way to reduce and take some plays off of Eric. We have to. He's a little beat up right now. But having Brodney healthy, I think we'll be able to do that.

On Smith playing almost all the snaps at safety last week…

Yeah, well, it was just the way the game was, some of the different calls, the groupings that we had in there. But we know Brodney Pool can play. There is no question about that. I think you'll see this week and probably going forward, you'll see more of Brodney.

On if there was a point where he realized that Leonhard was 100 percent recovered…

Yeah, I think it was almost right away, really. We could have probably [had him return punts] at the start of the regular season. But still, I wasn't comfortable with it until later. You see him bouncing around, and he probably has forgotten [the injury] because I don't see the difference in play. He's still Jim Leonhard, the same guy. So I'm more comfortable now than I was even in training camp.

On how Kenrick Ellis played at Washington…

It wasn't great. I think we had to play him at tackle instead of nose tackle, so that was a little different for him because we really brought him in to be a nose tackle more than a swing tackle. I think if his role is just at that nose tackle spot, I think he'll do much better. But again, you have some growing pains. There have been times when he's looked absolutely terrific, so I'm excited. He works extremely hard, and that means he's going to rise. I think he's got a bright future. There is no doubt about it.

On if Ellis will start if Mike DeVito is out…

That's a possibility. I think MTV [Martin Tevaseu] is another possibility for us. Both those guys are working really hard.

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